Jan 25

DUI |

To prevent underage minors from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, Illinois has a zero tolerance law for such behavior. Stated otherwise, underage drivers are not allowed to register any amount of alcohol in their system. Otherwise, they may face criminal penalties, including but not limited to mandatory suspension of driving privileges.

What is the Zero Tolerance Law for Drunk Driving?

There is a strict standard for underage drinking and driving under Illinois state law. Until a driver turns 21, he or she is not allowed to register any alcohol as a result of a DUI test. If the driver registers a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.00, it qualifies as a violation of this Illinois state law.

If an underage driver violates the zero tolerance law for drunk driving, he or she may face the following criminal penalties:

  • First Offense: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of three months; and
  • Second Offense: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of one year.

What is the Zero Tolerance Law for Refusing a DUI Test?

During a legal stop by law enforcement, Illinois law requires underage drivers to submit to a DUI test of their breath or blood. If the underage driver refuses to submit to the required test, he or she will face criminal penalties.

If an underage driver violates the zero tolerance law for DUI test refusals,  he or she may face the following criminal penalties:

  • First Refusal: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of six months; and
  • Second Refusal: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of two years.

Can Underage Drivers Face Adult DUI Charges?

Outside of the zero tolerance laws described previously, underage drivers can also face the same DUI charges as any adult. The standard version of a DUI offense applies to an underage driver if he or she:

  • Registers a BAC of 0.08 or more;
  • Registers a BAC of 0.05 or more with other evidence of impairment;
  • Has illegal drugs or controlled substances in his or her system; or
  • Demonstrates other signs of impaired driving.

If an underage driver violates the DUI laws in Illinois, he or she may face the following criminal penalties:

  • First Conviction: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of two years; and
  • Second Conviction: The underage driver will face driver’s license suspension for a minimum of five years.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Thomas Picauly)